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MCAT Psychology Question — Social Control

A local politician starts a task force to reduce prejudice and hate crimes, and the task force provides recommendations for increased access to education, paid community improvement projects open to people from different, possibly conflicted, groups, and stricter anti-hate ordinances to be passed at the local level. These recommendations are based on:

I. Self-esteem hypothesis

II. Contact hypothesis

III. Assimilation hypothesis

IV. Legal hypothesis


a) I, II, and III

b) II, III, and IV

c) I, III, and IV

d) I, II, and IV




Four main hypotheses are speculated to reduce prejudice. The self-esteem hypothesis states that when people have access to education and greater self-esteem, prejudices will go away. The contact hypothesis states that when members of different groups are brought together in order to appreciate their common experiences, prejudices will go away. Similarly, the cooperation hypothesis (not an answer choice) suggests that when conflicting groups work together towards shared goals, prejudices will go away. Finally, the legal hypothesis suggests that when laws are enforced against discriminatory behavior, prejudices will go away.

There is no assimilation hypothesis, assimilation refers to blending of minority groups into the dominant society.

In this question, the task-force has recommended increased access to education (I. Self-esteem hypothesis), paid community improvement projects open to people from varied backgrounds (II. Contact hypothesis, and would include Cooperation hypothesis if this were a choice), and stricter anti-hate ordinances (IV. Legal hypothesis). All choices are correct except for III.

a) I, II, and III, incorrect, There is no assimilation hypothesis.

b) II, III, and IV, incorrect.

c) I, III, and IV, incorrect.

d) I, II, and IV, correct.


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